I’m holding in my hand a 9mm hollow point R P Luger cartridge.
It was on a driveway outside the back door of our townhouse here in Jupiter, FL.
The 9mm has been around since 1902, designed by George Luger for his semi-automatic pistol and manufactured then by Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM). It’s called the 9mm Parabellum from the company motto “sic vis pacem, para bellum, ” which means “If you want peace, prepare for war.” A motto that ensures arms manufacturers wealth and prosperity, and ensures that war is the go-to solution to international conflict.
According to the 2006 edition of Cartridges of the World, the 9×19mm Parabellum is "the world's most popular and widely used military handgun cartridge." In addition to being used by over 60% of police in the U.S., Newsweek credits 9×19 pistol sales with making semi-automatic pistols more popular than revolvers.
And there it was, in all its glory, the rock star of cartridges showing up out my back door in hollow point form.
The hollow point has two functions; one, it mushrooms as it hits a body, creating more damage as it penetrates and two, it helps limit its travel after hitting the body, cutting down on “collateral damage.”
So why do I have a 9mm cartridge resting peacefully in the Florida sun out my back door? Or perhaps more importantly, why should I care?
Perhaps it comes from the tremendous responsibility that should come with the right to bear arms we take so much for granted here in the US. Oh, there’s a lot of talk about that right, a lot of talk about how “they” will only take my gun out of my cold, dead hand.
But responsibility has nothing to do with knee-jerk slogans or puffed-up egos. I know few people I trust to carry a gun, despite the heated rhetoric by many who carry, and here in Florida we have more concealed carry permits than any state in the nation. We passed the one million mark on Dec. 19th last year, a counterpoint to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings on the 14th.
My friend Terry is one I trust, a former military policeman, and a man who I know would be loathe to pull and gun and fire on any human being, but would be entirely capable of pursuing that line of action if he had to, and would ensure that what he did was not only the only possible action left, it would be done in a manner that would ensure the safety of those around him.
As he has told me, he would be unlikely to pull a gun during a robbery at our favorite restaurant, because the money is not worth someone’s life. And gunplay in a restaurant has a high likelihood of “collateral damage.” So you dial 911 and wait for the cops. Frustrating, especially if you’re packing. He can handle the frustration; I don’t know how many others who pack would show that self-control.
He’s had years of gun training in the military.
In Florida, for a concealed carry permit, you must take “A 4 Hour class designed to teach the student the basic knowledge and attitudes necessary for selecting owning and using the pistol of their choice safely and effectively. Topics covered include: Safe gun handling, weapon selection, firearm nomenclature and manipulation, ammunition options and applications, storage & maintenance, fundamentals of pistol shooting including, grip options, stance options, sighting fundamentals, trigger control. This course also meets the requirements for the State of Florida safety course to obtain a concealed weapons permit. Ammunition Required: 100 rounds.”
A four hour class.
A hundred rounds of ammo.
Hence the cartridge outside my door.
Terry would not be one to “misplace” a 9mm Parabellum.
We have quite a few children here in our slice of paradise, living in these townhomes, most under 10-years-old. What a treasure to find a 9mm cartridge for a 10-year-old boy like I was.
What games I could play with it.